Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly, Ted Hendricks
We’ve all heard the phrases: ‘be careful what you wish for – it might just happen’ and ‘dreams do come true’. You may also have heard someone being referred to as ‘a bit of a Walter Mitty’, implying they’re a dreamer who has grand daydreams yet never achieves anything in real life.
In light of this, it will come as no surprise that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a man –Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) – who spends his days daydreaming of grand expeditions and wild adventures where he always gets the girl (namely Cheryl Melhoff who works in his office), all in order to escape his frustratingly mundane life working as a photograph developer for Time magazine whilst living alone and having few friends. However, the twist in this story is that all of his dreams suddenly become a reality as he is launched into his very own adventure. Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), a raving mad, thrill-seeking photographer who captures images from parts of the world no-one else is brave enough to explore, has been corresponding with Walter for the last 16 years as he sends his photographs to Time magazine. With the magazine facing its final edition, Sean has sent in a film of photographs recommending ‘negative 25’ for the front cover of the final issue of Time because it captures the ‘quintessence of human life’. Unfortunately, it is the only image missing from the spool and Walter accidently ends up on a mission to track down the great Sean O’Connell in order to find out where the photograph went, a journey that makes his imagined scenarios seem tame.
What really makes this film great is the stunning cinematography, especially the scenes filmed on location in Iceland, and the way the camera tracks a skateboarding Walter through the mountains. Ben Stiller, best known for his more irritating and superficial films such as Zoolander and Tropic Thunder, actually directs The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as well as playing the protagonist and he has done a fantastic job of both. Despite any reservations about his acting on the basis of previous roles, he perfectly portrays the frustrated man who has failed to achieve the American dream and is desperate to escape his mundane life. This is a heartwarming, soul-food sort of film, which will undoubtedly see you declare 2014 as your own year to travel and have an adventure to spice up your life.